Smart People

June 5th, 2008

This movie was brilliant! The most refreshing I’ve seen in a long time. The thing I liked most about it was the oddness of the whole thing. There wasn’t the false pretence of “perfection” that one often finds in Hollywood movie families. Instead, the three that form the Wetherhold family were a collection of completely different personalities, drawn together only by their kinship and the unexpected problems that life brings.

So much of the movie could have been a reflection of reality. The characters each have their own personality, brought to life by some excellent acting, directing and scripting. As time passes in the movie, each character realises something new about life, and yet clings like a rubber-band to their personalities. They don’t dramatically fall into some magical realisation of “the Truth”, but instead grow and develop slowly (as most people do) as life progresses.

Dennis Quaid plays the cliched professor who clearly knows his stuff, but lacks the social skills to impart his knowledge. In fact, there have been many a times when I’ve sat in my philosophy lecture wondering whether the person yapping away in the front of the hall had a life outside “office hours”. Ellen Page was a genius at her work, playing the unhappy, bitter, incredibly intelligent girl. I am told she plays a similar role in Juno, and was remarkable in that movie as well. Although I cannot remember Page in any other movies, I found out that she played Kitty Pryde in the third X-Men movie.

The only criticism I have to make is the choice to cast Sarah Jessica Parker. She clearly does not belong in the category of “serious movie” and should very much remain in the fairy-tale genre that has made her so famous. Like many actors and actresses who become instantly famous by a TV Series or movie, she will forever be acquainted with Carrie from Sex and the City. She will either have to change her face or improve her acting to break from this bubble.

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